Poet; collector of Scots verse and songs; bookseller; credited as having Britain's first subscription library; founded Britain's first school of art and author of Scotland's first folk opera The Gentle Shepherd. Greatly celebrated and reveered in his day. A plaque dedicated to him can be found in Greyfriar's Kirk, Edinburgh; his face is depicted on the Walter Scott monument, Edinburgh and his statue can be seen in Princes Street Gardens.
Life & Works
Allan Ramsay, was born in the Leadhills, South Lanarkshire, where his father (John Ramsay) was Superintendent of the Hopetoun Estate lead mines.
In 1701 aged 16 he was apprenticed to a wig-maker in Edinburgh. But Ramsay's real passion was for literature, especially Scots songs and verse. By 1718 he had a reputation as a writer of occasional verse which were published in broadsheets and as a collector of songs and poems. By 1725 he had become a successful bookseller and opened Britain's first circulating library, renting books from his shop.
Writing in the Scots language his many works included The Tea Table Miscellany, The Evergreen and his greatest work the pastoral drama The Gentle Shepherd which is set in the countryside near the hotel. His son, also called Allan (1713-1784), was to become one of Britain's finest portrait painters.
Is it not our master and yourself to stay amang us here? Or, are ye gawn away To London court, or ither far aff parts, To leave your ain poor us with broken hearts?”
The Gentle Shepherd.
Read Professor Murray Pittock's article on the importance of Allan Ramsay and his legacy : Allan Ramsay The Scots Poet.
Read more on Ramsay's contribution to the Edinburgh Enlightenment :
Read more about Allan Ramsay (Poet) on wikipedia.
Read more about Allan Ramsay (Painter) on wikipedia.
Allan Ramsay was the son of John Ramsay, a descendant from the Lowland Clan Ramsay, the tartan of which is used on this website banner, reproduced with attribution: By Celtus - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2450869
You can read more about the Ramsay Clan in wikipedia